Staging Secrets from 'Designed to Sell'

Quick staging ideas from our real estate experts.
Swap Dark and Cozy for Bright and Cheery

Swap Dark and Cozy for Bright and Cheery

Put away your snug winter blankets, throws and dark-colored accessories, and bring in the spring with bright shawl throws, flower-printed pillows and bright cloths for dark wood tables, says Gina Martelli, an ASID interior designer in Los Angeles. Andrew Schrage, the home expert at Money Crashers, recommends inexpensive staging items like towels and washcloths, throw pillows, candles and table settings in lavender, yellow, sage green and pale blue colors.

Related To:

Your house’s furnishings suit you fine, but your beloved rooster wallpaper might not suit the masses. Look at your house from a buyer’s perspective, and make minor enhancements to put its best foot forward. Here are ten quick, inexpensive fixes that will spruce up your home:

Make the front door inviting. Potential buyers often drive by before deciding they want to see the inside of a house, so make sure the front-door area looks nice.

Clear away clutter. Put away personal photos, knickknacks, boxes -- anything that will distract the buyer from concentrating on the house. People won't buy a house if they can't see the square footage, so clear it out and clean it up.

"Clutter gives the perception that there's not enough storage in the house," says real estate expert Shannon Freeman of the L.A. team. A basic rule of thumb to decide whether or not something is clutter is "if you can't sit on it, it's not decoration, and you can't eat it, it's clutter," says designer Lisa LaPorta, also of the L.A. team.

Clean the house thoroughly. Take time to make bathrooms sparkle, wash the windows, and clean kitchen appliances. Don't forget under the sinks!

Freshen up your rooms. A little paint can go a long way in making your home sellable: repaint much-used rooms in neutral colors to make them look clean and fresh.

Arrange furniture to showcase your space. Remove extra, unwanted furniture and arrange remaining pieces in a way that creates smooth traffic flow. Good furniture placement can help show off a room and makes a huge impact as a buyer walks through, says real estate expert Terry Haas from the Washington, D.C., team. "If you want to make a room look bigger, pull the furniture off the wall because people are allowed to see the perimeter of the room, and it creates the illusion of a larger space," adds designer Lisa LaPorta from the L.A. team.

Do all you can to reduce odors. People never forget smells when they walk in the door. Try your best to remove odors caused by pets, smoking and cooking. Nothing is worse than a smelly home, so make it fresh!

"Before an open house, open up all of the windows and air the house out. Boil cinnamon, bake cookies, bake bread -- do anything you can to have the air smelling fresh and clean,” advises designer Lisa LaPorta. Carpenter Chad Lopez offers another idea for bringing in some pleasant scents: "You can actually buy, from the paint store, scent packets, which you add to the paint before you paint the walls. As time goes by, they will gradually release a scent."

Perform any necessary repairs. Take a hard look around your home and see it from a buyer's perspective: oil door and window hinges, fix loose handrails, etc.

"Deferred maintenance -- for example, large cracks in your sidewalks on the way up to the door -- send red flags to buyers," says designer Monica Pedersen. "It costs you less to fix it than buyers might deduct from their asking price. So do the math, and fix it yourself," adds designer Lisa LaPorta.

Replace outdated light fixtures. Wall sconces, recessed lighting or pendant lights are good alternatives to that single old-fashioned overhead fixture.

Clean the carpeting. Unless it's extremely worn, you may be able to avoid replacing carpet before you sell. Buyers often prefer to choose their own new carpet or opt for hardwood floors.

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